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Marion's Story

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“Mum was really kind and caring; she spent her entire life looking after others.”
“Always busy, she loved gardening and would grow runner beans, raspberries and flowers in our garden in Hildenborough, where she lived her entire married life. And she used to knit every day; she taught me and my sister when we were young. Always doing things for others, never for herself, Mum really was the matriarch of the family.”

Watch Marion share her story

Marion, her husband, and her Mum on holiday on the Isle of Wight

Holidays with Mum

She didn’t really go on holiday until the last 10 years of her life. Her favourite place was the Isle of Wight, she loved the Bembridge Windmill. I have her picture of it in my lounge. When Mum was diagnosed with kidney cancer in December 2020, we were told it was quite advanced and she’d need palliative care. That’s when the Hospice became involved, and the Hospice nurses came to get to know Mum and gave us information about our options.

Marion's mum Jean at her 85th birthday party

Difficult Conversations

The nurse advised Mum and I to have what were some quite sensitive conversations. About how she was going to die, what she wanted for her funeral and other things.

“Those were very difficult conversations, but I’m pleased we had them because they made the rest so much easier. We knew what we were facing and were able to be open with each other.”

When the time came, Mum said she wanted to die at home, with the caveat if we felt we couldn’t cope she’d go into the Hospice.

My brother Mark, sister Rita and I were able to care for Mum at her home until right near the end.

When Mum became really ill last October, she came to stay at my house as it was better suited to caring for her. Alison, one of the Hospice Nurses, arranged for the Hospice’s Occupational Therapist to visit and everything, including a hospital bed, turned up in a few hours.

We set up a bedroom in my lounge for Mum. Bringing over her pictures to really make it her room. Mum sat, knitting, telling Alison we’d knit for the Hospice’s Christmas Market. Sadly, she never got to, but my sister and I will. I’ve only just been able to knit again as it so reminds me of Mum.

The last two days of Mum’s life, she was in bed asleep. We sat with her, talked to her, with all our dogs in the room – Mum loved dogs. We had The Repair Shop, her favourite programme on TV, and held her hands. It was perfect.

It’s easy not to talk about things, but you’ve got to talk to make the right decisions when the time comes. There was no ‘oh, I wonder what she would have wanted’. When the time came, we had it all sorted out.

“It gives me comfort to know we were able to care for Mum right until the end. We feel blessed for being able to care for her at home.”

Marion with a photo of her mum, Jean, in the background

Supporting the Hospice

I promised Mum I would repay the Hospice, so I volunteer with the Fundraising Team. That makes me feel good. I’m so grateful for the love and care they gave Mum. We never thought it possible to care for Mum at home while she was dying but the Hospice made that possible.